• Mt Reynolds

    Glacier

    National Park Montana

Frequently Asked Questions

Going-to-the-Sun Road (take me there)

When will the Going-to-the-Sun Road open in 2013?
Plowing the Going-to-the-Sun Road is a monumental challenge each year. Unpredictable spring snow storms or other weather related events can slow down plowing progress. It is not uncommon for plowing crews to need to re-plow sections of park roads when weather events happen. Safety for our plowing crews, contractors, and the public is our utmost concern and priority. These unknown factors make predicting the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road impossible. Our plowing status page provides information on where plows are working. As the status of the road changes, we will immediately update our road status page.

Portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road remain open all year and provide access to many locations and activities. Due to the ongoing Going-to-the-Sun rehabilitation project, the Going-to-the-Sun Road will not open in its entirety prior to June 21, 2013. After June 21, 2013, the actual date of opening will be dependent upon weather. Plowing operations may still be ongoing. When the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens for the season in its entirety, it will be open for 2-way thru traffic. Continuing construction work can cause travel delays up to 30 minutes (beautiful scenery to see while you wait). Currently, there are sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road open for travel and enjoyment. Please check our road status page for the sections of road that are open.



What if I have more questions about the Going-to-the-Sun Road?
We have a Going-to-the-Sun Road FAQ page that has all of our frequently asked questions and answers about the Going-to-the-Sun Road.


 

Camping (take me there)

What does it mean when a campground is in Primitive Status?
Campgrounds in primitive status do not have flush toilets or potable water.


Do the campgrounds have showers?
There are showers available in the park at the Rising Sun and Swiftcurrent Campstores for a fee. These showers can be used by anyone. The St. Mary and Fish Creek campgrounds have token operated showers only for guests staying at those campgrounds. Token are free for those guests staying in the campground. There are also private campgrounds outside the park that sell shower service. Check with the Campground Host to find out where there are showers available near your campground.



Does someone check me in at the campgrounds? How do I find a campsite?
In Fish Creek and St. Mary Campgrounds (our reservation campgrounds), you will be checked in at the kiosk. If you come after hours, your information and site number will be posted at the kiosk window. If you are camping at our first come/first serve sites, stop at the fee station and pick up a fee envelope, proceed into the campground and find an available campsite. Place your fee envelope in the fee tube within a ½ hour of picking your site. Credit cards are accepted at our campgrounds, with the exception of Cutbank Campground.


Can I make reservations for an auto campground?
Yes, reservations can be made at Fish Creek Campground on the west side of the park and at St. Mary Campground on the east side. You can make your reservations 6 months prior and up to 3 days in advance through Recreation.gov at 1-877-444-6777 or online at http://www.recreation.gov/


We have a large group of campers, do you have group sites? Can you reserve these group campsites?
Group sites are for groups of 9 to 24 campers. For group site reservations, 5 of Apgar Campground's 10 group sites can be reserved up to one year in advance. The remainder of the sites are on a first come, first serve basis. St. Mary Campground has 2 group sites that can be reserved up to one year in advance. Many Glacier and Two Medicine campgrounds have 1 group site each, and both are on a first come first serve basis. For Reservations at Fish Creek, St. Mary and Apgar Group sites, call Recreation.gov at 1-877-444-6777 or reserve online at http://www.recreation.gov/



How do I know how early I need to show up for a first come, first serve campsite?
We have complied all the fill times for each individual campground on our Web site so you can get an idea of how early you might want to show up. You can find that on our Campground Status Page.



Are campgrounds open year round?
Yes, during the winter, the St. Mary Campground and the Apgar Picnic area are available for camping. There is no fee charged for camping in the winter from December 1st through March 31st.



Do you have any generator-free campsites?
Yes, Sprague Creek Campground, Loop C in Fish Creek Campground, sites 49-84 in the Rising Sun Campground, sites 86-100 in the Many Glacier Campground and sites 1-36 in the Two Medicine Campground.


 

Ranger-led Activities (take me there)

Do you have Ranger-led activities?
Yes we do! Our programs begin around the third week of June and begin tapering off around Labor Day. We have limited Ranger-led activities through the end of September.



When do you update your Ranger-led activities?
A couple weeks prior to the beginning of our Ranger-led Activity newspaper, we will upload the schedule for the next segment of activities. Please see the previous year's schedule for an idea of the types of activities offered and when they might occur. This is to be used just as a planning reference.



Is there a cost for your Ranger-led Activities?
Boat trips that include a Ranger-guided hike and some of the Native America Speaks programs have a cost associated with them. Please see our Ranger-led Activities Schedule for details on cost.



Do you need reservations for Ranger-led Activities?
You do not need a reservation on most of our Ranger-led activities, however, there are a few cases when advance planning would be prudent. The hikes associated with a boat tour do tend to fill up quickly, so you may want to make reservations with Glacier Park Boat Co. for a boat ticket by calling (406) 257-2426. You should make reservations for the International Peace Park hike as it has a space limit of 35 people. You can add pre-register at the St. Mary Visitor Center (406-732-7750) or the Waterton Lakes Visitor Centre in Waterton (403-859-5133). and you can add your name to that list at any of the visitor centers. There is a fee for the return boat trip back to Canada.


 

Hiking (take me there)

When do your trails open?
There is only one trail that we close due to snow, the Highline Trail. We try to open that trail just before the July 4th weekend. You may still encounter some areas in which you may need to cross snow. Lower elevations trails tend to melt-out by late April or early May. Most of our higher elevation trails are not snow free and hazard free until mid-July. Please check our Trail Status Reports page ahead of time, or visit a visitor center or ranger station upon arrival.



Is hiking the Highline Trail scary?
There are portions of the trail that have exposure, the most noticeable beginning one hundred yards or so from the trailhead at Logan Pass. The trail can be 3-5 feet wide in places. There is a hand cable available for about 50 yards. The Highline Trail is a gorgeous trail and provides access to the high country's stunning scenery.

When does the Ptarmigan Tunnel open?
Trail crews attempt to open the tunnel around the second week of July, depending on snow conditions. If you have a scheduled backpack trip and are coming around that time, it is advisable to call or check in at a visitor center or ranger station upon arrival.



When can I hike all the way to Grinnell Glacier?
Portions of the trail are accessible to hiking, but the trail is not completely accessible to Grinnell Glacier until late July when trail crew staff, and melting snow, open higher portions of the trail.



Did You Know?

Beargrass

Did you know that once Beargrass blooms and then dies, a new stalk will bloom 5-10 years after that?